Smarter Business: Greening the Games
Professional sports team up with NRDC to reduce their environmental impact.
Major League Soccer
In 2009, Major League Soccer launched Greener Goals, the League’s environmental platform, in partnership with NRDC. NRDC continues to work with Major League Soccer to identify ways to reduce their environmental footprint and raise fan awareness about environmental issues.
MLS W.O.R.K.S. GREENER GOALS will aim to support the environment by undertaking community initiatives in partnership with our clubs and educating the soccer community about the importance of environmental sustainability.” –MLS Greener Goals Mission Statement
In 2011 MLS launched Greener Goals week, a League-wide effort focused on reducing the environmental footprint of team and stadium operations, and increasing environmental awareness through fan outreach, community events, and in stadium programs.
During Greener Goals Week, MLS purchased Green-e Certified renewable energy credits from Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset 100% of the electricity used at home matches during the week of April 16-23. The clubs’ combined renewable energy credits offset 2,126,600 pounds of CO2, the equivalent of powering 137 homes for an entire year. Information on waste management, energy and transportation alternatives was also added to MLS stadiums and training venue guidelines. Fans attending MLS games during this week received Eco-tip Wallet guides developed by the NRDC, and flower seed packets courtesy of America the Beautiful Fund.
TEAM INITIATIVES: Read More↓
Here is a brief sampling of the efforts being taken by teams:
The Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field
JELD-WEN Field and the Portland Timbers are committed to pursuing more sustainable operations and environmentally preferable products throughout the facility. JELD-WEN Field received the 2009 “Recycle Works Award” from the City of Portland office of Sustainable Development and achieved LEED Silver certification in late 2011. Green features of the facility include:
- Energy efficient lighting, motion sensors, and energy conservation programs (turning off lights and heaters during off-hours).
- Water-conserving low flow urinals and toilets.
- Recycling programs for glass, plastics, paper, cardboard, cooking oil, pallets and unclaimed “Lost and Found” clothing, glasses and cell phones.
- A food donation program for unused prepared food and a compost program for food waste.
The Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field
Since its design and construction in 2002, CenturyLink Field Event Center, home of the Seattle Sounders FC, has featured high efficiency fixtures and building systems in an effort to reduce environmental impacts. This includes: a state of the art building management system and a programmable lighting control system that monitors heating, ventilation, and lighting systems to reduce energy consumption; high efficiency lighting fixtures and HVAC; and low-flow aerators on faucets.
Since then, they have continued to make substantial improvements to their building operations. In particular, CenturyLink Field Event Center management have addressed the stadium’s waste stream. As of 2010, they are recycling and/or composting over 58 percent of stadium waste. The stadium was awarded “Event Recycler of the Year” by the Washington State Recycling Association in 2009 for their waste reduction efforts. Visitors can use one of over 500 recycle containers and over 175 food waste compost containers throughout the facility to dispose of waste more responsibly. And post-game staff even sort waste discarded in the seating area. Some of the stadium’s other green features include:
- Installing reflective “cool roof” materials that reduce heat absorbed by the roof and lower cooling costs;
- Retrofitting bathrooms with ultra-low-flow water fixtures;
- Providing food serviceware made from bio-based, compostable materials, in partnership with Levy Restaurants (Levy has also implemented a sustainable food program with suppliers); and
- Purchasing post-consumer recycled content paper products for toilet paper, hand towels and office paper.
In July 2011, CenturyLink Field finished installing a 3,750-panel solar array that spans 2.5 acres on the roof of the event center–the biggest solar installation in the state of Washington. The panels are projected to generate over 830,000 kwh annually—the equivalent of the total energy used in 95 Seattle homes for an entire year. The panels use cutting-edge thin-film technology that capture both direct and reflected sunlight across a 360-degree cylinder surface, taking advantage of the event center’s reflective roofing material.
CenturyLink Field and the Seattle Sounders FC are also founding members of the Green Sports Alliance.
The Vancouver White Caps at BC Place
The Vancouver White Caps begin playing in the newly renovated BC Place in September 2011. The stadium has been upgraded to feature more efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems and operations. Energy efficient fixtures and a new lighting design resulted in an approximate 40 percent reduction of lighting load compared to the original system. The stadium’s new retractable roof is also much more energy efficient than the original, saving 25 percent on energy costs -- about $350,000 per year.
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